Sound—one of the central elements of poetry—finds itself all but ignored in the current discourse on lyric forms. The essays collected here by Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin break that critical silence to readdress some of the fundamental connections between poetry and sound—connections that go far beyond traditional metrical studies.
Ranging from medieval Latin lyrics to a cyborg opera, sixteenth-century France to twentieth-century Brazil, romantic ballads to the contemporary avant-garde, the contributors to The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound explore such subjects as the translatability of lyric sound, the historical and cultural roles of rhyme, the role of sound repetition in novelistic prose, the connections between “sound poetry” and music, between the visual and the auditory, the role of the body in performance, and the impact of recording technologies on the lyric voice. Along the way, the essays take on the “ensemble discords” of Maurice Scève’s Délie, Ezra Pound’s use of “Chinese whispers,” the alchemical theology of Hugo Ball’s Dada performances, Jean Cocteau’s modernist radiophonics, and an intercultural account of the poetry reading as a kind of dubbing.
A genuinely comparatist study, The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound is designed to challenge current preconceptions about what Susan Howe has called “articulations of sound forms in time” as they have transformed the expanded poetic field of the twenty-first century.